Adam Reich not only won his first match back after returning from surgery to both hips, the Westfield High senior had to rally to do it.
Reich beat Ridge's Howard Sherman 6-4, 7-5 Tuesday and helped the Blue Devils win 3-2 in Basking Ridge. The match was Reich's first in six months because of hip surgery he had March 5 at the Hospital For Special Surgery in New York City.
"He looked rusty and certainly not tournament tough,'' said Westfield coach George Kapner, adding that Reich's strokes were sold. "However, he moved better as the match went on and he was moving well in the last four or five games."
"The more he plays, the better he will get,'' he added.
Reich was the team's No. 1 player last year when they made the Tournament of Champions final for the third straight year.
"I'm just happy to be able to contribute,'' Reich said. "Third singles will be big for us some matches.''
The five-hour surgery was done by New York Mets' team physician Dr. Struan Coleman. Dr. Coleman repaired the damaged labrum that surrounds the socket of the hip. the impingement caused the labrum to be torn. He had felt the discomfort last fall. Because of the surgery, Reich wasn't sure he would be to return this year.
"After the surgery they told me I would probably miss two or three months, I figured it would be very close to the end of the season,'' he said.
But there he was Tuesday, helping his team hold off a very good Ridge team.
"I'm just happy to be able to contribute,'' Reich said. "Third singles will be big for us in some matches.''
The matches will become more important now. The Blue Devils will host Watchung Hills Thursday at Tamaques Park in a North 2 Group IV tournament match.
"It's exciting to be back,'' said Reich, who will play next year at Williams College. "It felt good. I had a little bit of a slow start in the match, but everything feels good. There's no pain and I feel a big difference every day.''